KANNAPOLIS, N.C. | South Carolina had a distinct advantage in the recruitment of Northwest Cabarrus (N.C.) baseball standout Corey Seager.
The junior shortstop is the brother of former North Carolina infielder Kyle Seager, who starred for the Tar Heels before he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the third round of the 2009 MLB Draft. He was initially recruited to Chapel Hill by USC assistant coach Chad Holbrook.
Holbrook capitalized on his prior relationship with the Seager family when it was time for the third brother – middle brother Justin is a freshman infielder at UNC Charlotte – to start thinking about his college future. Corey Seager committed to the Gamecocks last fall.
“That really did help influence my decision,” he said of Holbrook’s involvement in his recruitment. “I already knew him and already had a great relationship with him. I’ve also got a great relationship with coach [Ray Tanner] through Holbrook.”
Northwest Cabarrus coach Joe Hubbard watched the Holbrook-Seager family relationship develop over the years.
“I remember when coach Holbrook was at North Carolina,” he said. “He came out here a couple of times and watched practice. That relationship grew when Kyle was at North Carolina. It just continued on. I wouldn’t say that was the main factor, but it was an underlying factor.”
Still, Seager was somewhat torn in the recruiting process. Growing up in the Tar Heel State, a big part of him wanted to follow his brother to Chapel Hill. Clemson and East Carolina were also recruiting him heavily. In the end, he decided to chart his own course.
“I kind of wanted to get away from my brother a little bit and set my own path, I guess you could say,” said Seager, who is rated among the best prep players at his position in the Class of 2011.
Seager is a big, athletic middle infielder. At 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, he doesn’t fit the traditional mold of a standout prep shortstop. His length and quickness allow him to cover a lot of ground and his strong arm is capable of making all the necessary throws, Hubbard said.
At the plate, Seager, who bats left handed, hits for power and average. He hit better than .500 last season and had seven home runs, though he’s trying to drive the ball into the gaps when he steps to the plate.
Seager is facing a small transition this season. His older brother manned shortstop and batted third for the Trojans last season, so Corey played second and batted second. Now the only Seager in the lineup, he’s able to move into his more natural roles as a shortstop and No. 3 hitter.
Seager has been a standout since his youth days. His father worked a deal that allowed him to play on his brother’s 5-year-old team two years early. Playing with older teammates helped his mature quickly as a player, Seager says.
“We used to hit wiffle balls in the living room,” he said. “When we started breaking mom’s clay people she got mom and we had to stop that. Since I’ve been little I’ve just kind of picked up and bat and ball and played.”
Now he’s addicted to the sport and making himself better.
“The kid can play,” Hubbard said. “Size and athletic ability. That’s the first thing that stands out to you. The second thing, and most important thing, is his drive to get better. There’s something that drive him to be the best he can be and to get better every day that he comes out here.”